Here are three key ways that data analytics can improve the workplace

Data 2018.jpg

Scott Kelly/NASA The breaking of dawn over planet Earth, seen from the International Space Station.

This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Bhushan Sethi, Joint Global Leader, People and Organisation, PricewaterhouseCoopers US


The nature of work is evolving rapidly. While new technologies, ranging from artificial intelligence (AI) and automation to digital mobility and virtual collaboration, are generally seen as the most radical drivers of this change, other trends may be just as impactful.

We can see them playing out all around us. The lines between our work and personal lives are shifting. Diversity and demands for equality are reshaping the workplace. We’re living longer, which requires us to master more and different skills over time. Social and environmental pressures are combining with the emergence of the gig economy to drive demand for more flexible working conditions.

For many, these changes are a source of anxiety and insecurity. But they also bring opportunities for organizations to allay these fears and make their people’s working lives more productive, meaningful and fulfilling. Key to achieving this will be the ability of organizations to rebalance their workforce, focusing more on collaboration between technology and humans, and harnessing human skills such as creativity, empathy and ethics alongside digital skills.

How can organizations prepare for this future? PricewaterhouseCoopers’ new global survey of more than 1,200 business and human resources (HR) leaders from 79 countries, produced in collaboration with London Business School Professor Lynda Gratton, investigates this question. It gives some powerful answers. Among its many findings, some of the most striking are around the need for companies to provide the workplace experience that employees want, and increasingly expect.

While this is vital, it’s also a growing challenge. Our research confirms that organizations know how important it is to create the right everyday experience at work. When we ask them to rank organizational capabilities by importance in relation to the future of their business, eight of the top 10 relate to workplace experience.

Preparing for tomorrow’s workforce, today

Image: PwC

But other findings suggest this is an area where companies are failing to deliver. Thirteen of the top 20 ‘at risk’ capabilities – those where respondents say a capability is important, but that they are not taking action on it today – also relate to people’s experience.

Why the mismatch? People’s workplace expectations, which are boosted by their engagement and interactions with services such as online retail and on-demand entertainment, have outstripped companies’ current ability to deliver. As our research underlines, what people experience outside work is increasingly affecting the way they approach their jobs. The result? They want the same speed, intuition and customization at work that they’ve become accustomed to when dealing with organizations outside it.

This is a challenge that businesses are currently struggling to meet. But the tools are at hand to close the gap between expectation and workplace reality. The solution lies in the smart use of employee data and analytics to create the personalized experience that staff crave.

This starts with measurement that goes beyond group-wide assessments and annual employee engagement surveys, to focus on the needs and wants of the individual. Armed with the right information, organizations can apply analytics to augment and personalize people’s experiences, using capabilities including organizational network analysis (ONA), real-life journey maps, the identification of core pain points, skills-mapping, career navigation, listening and well-being tools.

Throughout, it’s also important to retain employees’ trust and make sure they don’t feel they’re being monitored in ways that they’re uncomfortable with. This means ensuring they know how their personal data is used and what it’s being used for, and providing them with opt-out options. At the same time, organizations should demonstrate the value of sharing personal data through clear communications encouraging people to opt in.

Improving the workplace experience is just one area where data analytics can help organizations prepare for their future workforce. As well as understanding how to create a compelling people experience, analytics – and especially predictive analytics – can give businesses a critical edge in gauging their future talent needs, and eliminating potential biases in selection, assignment and appraisal.

The companies in our study are well aware of these opportunities. They attach high importance to data analytics in planning and supporting the future workforce. But once again, a gap emerges between aspiration and reality. Despite the wealth of data they hold, and the growing sophistication and usability of the tools on offer, many tell us they are falling short. Four of the top ten ‘at risk’ capabilities in our research relate to workforce analytics.

Interestingly, participants in North America report stronger progress in these areas than their counterparts in Asia and Western Europe. And almost all industries say they’re finding it difficult to make headway with employee data and analytics, with the exception of health, where data is used in skills identification and tackling biases in hiring and reward.

Overall, the message is clear. Investing in digital tools to drive people decisions is a ‘no regrets’ move to prepare for the future.

We’ve identified three strategies which organizations should focus on now.

1. Apply analytical rigour

Build data analytics capability and invest in digital tools to sharpen the precision and proactivity of talent planning and performance management. The HR function needs the right skills, but the business also needs the right baseline data to be accurate. For example, one key challenge is that job descriptions don’t reflect what people do.

2. Personalize the experience

Draw on robust employee data to create a personalized experience for your workforce. People increasingly want to work in a way that suits them. But let your employees know how their personal data is being used and why. This is vital for maintaining their trust.

3. De-bias people processes

Tackle unconscious bias in recruitment by tracking hiring and promotion rates among underrepresented groups, and using analytics and digital engagement to broaden the talent pool. But make sure decisions are guided by a person trained to understand algorithms, rather than by an algorithm alone.

Organizations that get this right today will make better decisions about their workforce and ensure they stay competitive tomorrow.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Syria: Urgent, concrete actions needed, to protect children too young to ‘make sense of this senseless war’

Europe eyes to replace US as China’s prime foreign partner

Young people all over the world come together to demand paid good quality internships

IMF asks Europe to decide on bank resolutions and the Greek Gordian knot

Armenia should take vigorous measures against entrenched corruption

State aid: Commission invites comments on simplified rules for State aid combined with EU support

De Gucht: More gaffes with the talks on the EU-US free trade agreement

These countries are the most peaceful – in 3 charts

A neo-liberal toll free Paradise for the super rich and tax hell for wage earners

Air quality: Commission takes action to protect citizens from air pollution

New book honours UN women who made HERstory

Half of Eurozone in deflation expecting salvation from monetary measures

Venezuela: UN human rights office calls for ‘maximum restraint’ by authorities in face of new demonstrations

Is “Sustainable Development” a concept that integrates Health Literacy and Health Policy as a global health action?

Parliament criticises Council’s rejection of money laundering blacklist

Draghi left alone with no hope of boosting EU growth as Merkel just focuses on next elections

China, forever new adventures

Russia can no longer be considered a ‘strategic partner’, say MEPs

From diamonds to recycling: how blockchain can drive responsible and ethical businesses

G20 LIVE: The European Sting covers online world news and the latest developments at G20 from Antalya Turkey

Good grub: why we might be eating insects soon

EU-US to miss 2015 deadline and even lose Germany’s support in TTIP’s darkest week yet

These rules could save humanity from the threat of rogue AI

A Europe that Protects: Commission calls for more efforts to ensure adoption of security proposals

Mosul’s ‘3D contamination’ adds to challenges of deadly mine clearance work

Health Committee MEPs back plans to boost joint assessment of medicines

COP21 Breaking News_10 December: UN Climate Chief Calls for Final Push to Meet Adaptation Fund Goal Very Close to Target

UN condemns attack that leaves one ‘blue helmet’ dead in Central African Republic

Young people are not a nameless, faceless mass. So why do we treat them as such?

UN chief welcomes DR Congo President’s promise to stand down

UN rights chief ‘alarmed’ by upsurge in attacks against civilians in Syria’s Idlib

UN chief lauds Fijians as ‘natural global leaders’ on climate, environment, hails ‘symbiotic relationship’ with land and sea

Assassinations in Ethiopia amidst regional ‘coup’ attempt, condemned by UN chief

UN sounds alarm as Venezuelan refugees and migrants passes three million mark

Europe split in confronting the US sanctions on Iran, Washington isolated

What the global Internet’s stakeholders can learn from Europe’s new data law

Civil society organisations disenchanted with “Youth Guarantee”

Pedro Sánchez: We must protect Europe, so Europe can protect its citizens

Fashion has a huge waste problem. Here’s how it can change

Where America’s refugees came from in 2018

Sochi not far away from Ukraine

Is it too soon to hope for a tobacco free Romania?

How Eurozone consumers spend their income when they have one…

Uncovered liabilities of €5 billion may render EU insolvent

Why climate change matters for future health professionals

The AI doctor won’t see you now

Seize the opportunities of digital technology to improve well-being but also address the risks

“C’est la vie”? French recession and unemployment to linger in Eurozone

INTERVIEW: Poverty, education and inclusion top new General Assembly President’s priority list

Rare Disease Day: a new EU platform to support better diagnosis and treatment

6 things to know about the General Assembly as UN heads into high level week

COP21 Business update: Companies urge now for carbon pricing as coal is still a big issue

Facebook has built an AI-based tool that fixes the social network when it crashes

OECD Donor countries need to reform development finance to meet 2030 pledge

Member states jeopardising the rule of law will risk losing EU funds

UN committed ‘to support the Libyan people’ as Guterres departs ‘with deep concern and a heavy heart’

It’s not your imagination, summers are getting hotter

The Amazon is reaching a dangerous tipping-point. We need to scale solutions now if we have any chance of saving it

A 550 km-long mass of rotting seaweed is heading for Mexico’s pristine beaches

French full-body veil ban, violated women’s freedom of religion: UN Human Rights Committee

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s